Friday, June 3, 2016

Rediscovering Ipoh

As I mentioned a while ago, I went on a work trip to Ipoh and I found out how different and how much it's progressed since my younger days of following my dad for his work to this famous Malaysian city. I haven't been there much over the past 7 years, so it was like taking a step back into time and yet discovering new things and places about this city that I had spent so much time in as a kid. I guess organising this into a somewhat chronological order would make sense for those of you who wanna travel there - so let's start with breakfast!

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day

This flatlay was taken at Chang Jiang; hands down one of our team's most favourite coffee shops, mainly because it's been very nicely updated since its heyday in the town centre. I'm not saying they went all-out modern, but they basically took a dated bungalow and converted it into a coffee shop. So there's a little bit of old and new in the d├ęcor, e.g. steel teal chairs paired with marble-topped tables (as seen in this picture). The white coffee here is good, but don't bother buying their 3-in-1 sachets home though; the two really don't taste the same. My girlfriends went wild for their chicken curry with steamed bread, but I thought the noodles were really good - they've got a ton of variety, and I'm pretty certain they all taste great.

I think this was part of the original building, and they've decided to keep it to display their old coffee machine inside

I thought it was really funny how you can barely see the shop from this angle - it's completely covered by shrubbery

I assume the overgrown plants were to create shade for this nice little al fresco place - definitely gonna sit outside next time

The coffee shop was just down the street from where we stayed at Impiana Hotel, so we were very tempted to have our breakfast here every morning - you will too, after you visit them. Now that we've had breakfast, it's time to explore!

Honestly not the first time a 'Concubine Lane' has been converted into a heritage site in M'sia :/

My team and I walked through the infamous 'Concubine Lane' to check out the food scene - calm down guys, ladies of the night haven't hung around here since... I don't know. This isn't Wikipedia. I'm just here to tell you, it's hella colourful now. And so touristy. If you look closer, that pink sign that says "Cartoon Rainbow House" actually sells a lot of knick knacks and soft toys as souvenirs - so gifts to bring back home, check! You also might want to GPS Lorong Panglima - it's no narrow you'll miss it completely if you don't know where to look.

So Cameron Highlands isn't the only place you can bring home cactus from - speaking of which, that's a great idea for a post

Lot 22 on Concubine Lane

Some of the lots and buildings in Ipoh's Old Town have been left dilapidated, but there's this certain charm to them where there's still plenty of people surrounding the area, lots of visitors still admire the place for what it was and what it looks now, and I really love that whole idea of appreciation for someplace no matter what history it has. Lorong Panglima looks beautiful now - just look at those faded shades of blue and yellow with some bare brick showing through the walls. Some thoughtful soul even put a line of potted plants in front to decorate the area.

People like to take pictures of the more popular street art here, but this one was so small and insignificant I had to show it to you

It's a tapau bag of coke or cincau - not sure which but if you do, let me know

This really reminded me of those abandoned places you see on the internet, complete with overgrown plants in an empty lot, and a sea-themed mural on the walls

OK, time to take a break. On my work trip, we went to over 10 different "kopitiams" all over Ipoh, from the most famous ones to some that were much lesser known. I'll only be showcasing the ones I liked, but I do have some warnings against those I don't. If anybody mentions Nam Heong in Ipoh SoHo, please - don't go there. Don't be fooled by the fancy iPad minis that you can order your food on, because the dishes are on average a 2/10, and we ordered a lot - unfortunately, but that's our job: to find out what's good, and occasionally, what's not. The place is more frequented by business workers, so if you're just going there to discuss work, that's fine because luckily their coffee is still pretty much a 10/10, but I warned you about everything else.

The cutest uncle ever (besides my grandpa) at Ah Chow

Sorry, uncle. If this is your grandpa, please tell him I thought this was too picture perfect to not snap a shot. From the dusty clock to the tiled walls, the Chinese posters and banners and those 'marble' tables and chairs - oh, my love for old things just couldn't help myself. Plus, he looked so content just drinking his coffee and reading his newspaper, like, that's how I wanna be when I'm old. :') Perfectly happy and still able to go out for a cup of good white coffee. This was taken at Ah Chow, where their coffee is legendary in Ipoh for having alcohol in it.
Spike it, spike it hard.

Nam Chau alley's red and white umbrellas

So if y'all wanna get that Instagram game on - I don't even know what I'm talking about, I have like, 300 followers maybe - this is definitely the place to take your pics (especially if momma won't approve of 'Prostitute Street'). Careful though, the building to the right has plenty of truck deliveries in the afternoon, so please don't get run over. Or do. Whatever floats your boat. Now back to exploring.

A mix of modern and vintage - Artisan by BoutiQue Patiserie is to the left, I highly recommend it; and my adventurous colleague is to the middle, photobombing with that bright red top
Colourful handmade umbrellas, vines, and faded walls <3
I also couldn't help myself from taking a shot of this couple getting their wedding shoot done - I'm so sneaky ahaha

And now, we reach one of the most famous hipster places in Ipoh of all time, Plan B and Sekeping Kong Heng. LOL. I'm such a hater, but it's actually a really nice place for pictures! Plus, I got these cute little stuffed owl keychains for my mom and Lesley there. If you're looking for something a little more artisanal than 'Cartoon Rainbow House', then this is the place to go.

The ground floor of the extremely popular Sekeping Kong Heng loft
The vines and bushes were really planned out well, I admire their gardener's work
This is the interior of the place where the public is allowed to visit, reminiscent of my cho cho (great-grandmother)'s old place in Melaka
There's just so much effort and detail put into this little place - there's even an old library next to this space
Urban legend has it (actually somebody in our office told us from their personal experience) that the housekeeper washes the entire toilet with just ONE brush, so guys - please think twice before you decide to stay here. It's all hype, don't get caught up in it. I'm sure you can find a better place that actually keeps their bathrooms clean. Or just wait until they get a new housekeeper. You don't want to get dysentery.

And on that nasty note, I bid you adieu. AHAHAHA. This is so much fun and I really appreciate you all for reading my nonsense. It's great. I enjoyed myself, I hope you did too. Maybe I'll write about my makeup routine next, if you're interested in that. If not, then please complain about my writing in the comments below. <3

Until then, BYE!
xoxo

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